Lot 10
  • 10

Labé, Louise Charly

3,000 - 5,000 USD
485,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • paper
[O]Euvres. Lyon: Jean de Tournes, [12 August] 1555

8vo (6 1/4 x 3 3/4 in.; 158 x 95 mm). collation: a - l8= 88 leaves including the privilege leaf at the end, italic, Greek and roman type, woodcut vine-stem title border, decorative woodcut initials, borders ruled in red; title skilfully inlaid, washed, some light browning on title and last few leaves, top and fore-margins cut close catching side notes on pages 154 & 166 and pagination on page 7. Late 19th-century tan morocco, decorated in a repeated diagonal pattern of inlaid blue morocco arabesques each with an inlaid red morocco clover and gold-stamped sprigs, the pattern defined by a triple gilt rule of undulating lines with goldstamped circles at the join points, spine richly gilt using the same figure, blue morocco doublures with wide dentelles, edges gilt, set in a blue full-morocco clamshell box, lined with brown morocco, gilt-stamped title on spine, the whole by Emile Mercier, successor to Cuzin. 


Henri Bordes (giltstamped red leather bookplate) — Henri Burton (bookplate)


Tchemerzine VI, 296; Rothschild I, 638

Catalogue Note

First edition of this remarkable publication, in a splendid binding. Louise Labé (c. 1522 - 1566), born to illiterate parents (her father a ropemaker), was educated in Latin, Italian and music. Living her whole life in Lyon, she became active in the circle of poets and humanists around Maurice Scève. This, her only publication, combines erudition with feminist polemic and frank eroticism; it is introduced by a manifesto addressed to a woman (Clémence de Bourges) and to the female sex, urging them to support one another as they trade their distaffs and spindles for the pen while men are to accept women as partners in both domestic and public affairs and in the process of writing itself. The work also contains twenty-five poems in her honor, by Scève, Pontus de Tyard, Clement Marot, Mellin de Saint-Gelais and others, included as an early form of dust-jacket blurbs to help market her work.

No copy of this edition has appeared at auction since 1975; in that time only the 1556 edition appeared once at the Esmerian sale (Paris, Ader Picard Tajan, 6 June 1972, lot 82). OCLC reports five copies (Harvard, Yale, BNF, BL, BM Lyon).